The last decade has seen significant improvements in both social media and digital cameras, parents are now able to capture and share their children’s major milestones with the world more easily than ever before.

Sharing photos of your children online is a common practice among parents today. With social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram, making it so easy to share photos with friends and family, it’s no wonder that so many parents choose to do so.

Sharing pictures of your children on social media can violate their privacy, and it may even put them at risk in the future. In this blog post, we will discuss the risks of sharing photos of your children online in more detail and provide tips on how to minimize these risks.

Risks of sharing photos of your children online

1. Online Predators

One of the biggest risks of sharing photos of your children online is the possibility that they could be seen by online predators. Online predators are adults who use the internet to prey on children. They may use photos of children for sexual purposes or to blackmail children into doing things they don’t want to do.

2. Identity Theft

Another risk of sharing photos of your children online is the possibility of identity theft. Identity thieves may use photos of children to create fake identities or to steal their personal information. This information can then be used to commit fraud or other crimes.

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3. Cyberbullying

If you share photos of your children online, they could be targeted by cyberbullies. Cyberbullies are people who use the internet to harass or threaten others. They may post embarrassing or hurtful comments about your children or share their photos without their permission.

4. Loss of Privacy

Once you share a photo of your child online, it is no longer private. Anyone with access to the internet can see the photo and share it with others. This means that you can’t control who sees your child’s photo or how it is used.

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How to Share Photos of Your Child Safely

Social media sharing can be beneficial for families, depending on their individual circumstances. If you have a number of geographically distant relatives, for example, Facebook and similar sites provide a convenient way to bring everyone closer together. To enjoy the positive aspects of social media while limiting the risks to your children, try using the following strategies:

  1. Only share photos of your children with family members and close friends. Ask your family and friends not to share images of your children online.
  2. Turn off location services and facial recognition whenever possible. Be careful to avoid taking pictures in places that could reveal your location, e.g., in front of your house. Never publicly post your child’s birthday party photos, as strangers can discover your child’s date of birth and location from such images.
  3. Remove the EXIF metadata from your digital images. Deleting metadata gets rid of the hidden information encoded in photos, providing some protection in the event that your photos are leaked.
  4. Talk to your children about online privacy. Make your kids aware of the dangers of sharing too much personal information online. Ask for your child’s consent before you share his or her picture with friends and family members via the Internet.
  5. Use secure platforms: Instead of sharing photos online, use more secure platforms to show pictures of children to friends and family. For example, WhatsApp protects photos with end-to-end encryption and gives users the option to send photos that can only be opened once.
  6. Avoid showing the child’s face: To avoid ‘oversharenting’, some parents cover their children’s faces before posting their photos to social media. This can be done by using the “stickers” built into apps, like Instagram, to cover their faces or using editing tools to blur or block out their features.
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Before uploading photos of your child, make a habit of consulting with them first. Ask if they feel comfortable with you sharing the photo in question. And do it early. Age 4 to 5 is a good time to start, as it’ll help your kids establish their own boundaries while also preparing them to handle conversations about similar topics of consent and trust.

Article references: Advanced Psychology Services